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Back Local News AG replaced by law firm in federal tax refund case

AG replaced by law firm in federal tax refund case

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THE Governor’s Office has succeeded in replacing the Attorney General’s Office with a private law firm to represent the government in a federal case involving tax refund payments.

GovGuam is now represented by Calvo Fisher & Jacob in the class suit filed by Rea Paeste following an order issued last Friday by Judge Consuelo Marshall, who approved the substitution of Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Orcutt with private attorneys.

Marshall earlier denied the substitution motion, but a new filing – with the signatures of Calvo, Department of Administration Director Benita Manglona, and Department of Revenue and Taxation Director John Camacho – was submitted last week.

Rapadas did not sign the stipulation. It was signed by Orcutt.

The attorney substitution issue was elevated by the AGO before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the appeal was terminated on May 1.

The Governor’s Office filed two separate motions removing the legal representation of the AGO from the solid waste consent decree case and the tax refund case.

The governor, under the Organic Act of Guam, is the executive officer of the territory with general supervision and control of all the departments, bureaus, agencies, and other instrumentalities. The governor is the main defendant in both cases.

The Organic Act also provides that the AGO is the chief legal officer of the government of Guam, and the Legislature had enacted legislation prohibiting the execution of contracts for the services of legal counsel in the executive branch without the approval of the Attorney General.

In 2005, then-Attorney General Douglas Moylan sued the Guam International Airport Authority for contracting a private law firm. One of Moylan’s arguments was the extra cost of retaining private law firms.

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